Theme of the Year 2019-2020
Lynbrook Public Schools… A Community of Caring
Honk and Hooray for Lynbrook’s Class of 2020
As a special way to honor the soon-to-be graduates, Lynbrook High School building administrators, staff and central administrators illuminated the place where the Class of 2020 has called home for the past four years. Seniors and their families were encouraged to drive by the high school on Union Avenue on May 1 at 20:20 military time, a nod to the year, to see Lynbrook High School shining bright in their honor. Between the line of cars, excited honking and loud cheers, the administrators and staff celebrated each senior as they passed the high school while holding signs and pom poms.
Athletic Director Thomas Graham and Lynbrook High School Principal Joseph Rainis coordinated the momentous evening with the local fire and police departments who assisted with traffic control.
“It was so nice to see the members of the Class of 2020,” said Mr. Rainis. “They are a wonderful group – insightful, mature, leaders. I want to thank Mr. Graham, who really got things moving on this and I also want to thank Chief Nick Pearsall and Chief Mike Brooks of the Lynbrook Fire Department, as well as Chief Brian Paladino of the Lynbrook Police Department, for supporting the students and families of the class. It really was a nice moment. I hope that the students felt the support and love that Lynbrook High School and the community has for them because I sure did.”
Fifth Grader Finds a Way to Give Back
Marion Street fifth grader Lyla Gaffoor is making a difference in the lives of frontline workers during the quarantine. She has put her sewing and crocheting skills to use by sewing 25 masks and crocheting 80 ear savers, an accessory to decrease the discomfort of wearing elastic masks all day. Lyla donated the masks and the ear savers to a local Moms Making Masks group and Maimonides Medical Center where her father serves as a pediatric doctor in the neonatal intensive care unit. The Moms Making Masks group distributes masks to frontline workers across Long Island. Lyla learned how to crochet in the fourth grade as a way to relax and practice mindfulness. She has been working on her craft for about a year and a half.
Waverly Park Students Pen Letters of Positivity
Waverly Park fifth graders in Amy Garfinkel’s class found a way to brighten the day of seniors living at the Atria Tanglewood, an assisted living facility in Lynbrook. With schools being closed and with seniors at assisted living facilities being confined to their rooms due to the coronavirus, Mrs. Garfinkel thought of a special writing assignment fit for the times. She asked her students to create uplifting greeting cards filled with positive and kind messages for residents of the Atria where her uncle is currently staying.
Once completed, the fifth graders were asked to place their cards in a plastic baggy and leave it by their front door for Garfinkel to pick up. She picked up about 20 cards from their houses and was even able to catch a few students smiling through the windows and front doors.
“I don’t know who was more excited about the activity, my students or me,” said Mrs. Garfinkel. “My uncle was moved to the Atria only two days before it went into quarantine. He is 95 years old, and to say the least, this was a huge adjustment in general for him, let alone not being able to see his family…I wanted to make this difficult time for him, as well as for all the residents, a tiny bit happier by getting special ‘mail’ that was made with love and affection by local students of Lynbrook.”
After collecting the cards, Mrs. Garfinkel stopped by the Atria and delivered them to the executive director who was extremely grateful. A few weeks later, Garfinkel received a general newsletter with typical updates from the Atria and was excited to see a shout out to her class for their cards. The Atria thanked the fifth graders for thinking of the residents and described the impact that the cards made.
VIDEO: Marion Street Students Honor Civil Rights Hero
Marion Street Elementary School third graders celebrated Black History Month with their annual Civil Rights Presentation on Feb. 27. Each year, the third grade teachers and their students invite Joseph McNeil, a leader in the Civil Rights movement and member of the Greensboro Four, to the presentation to honor him. Administrators including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, along with board members, families and third graders from Waverly Park and West End elementary schools were also present for the special event.
West End’s Kindness Crew Strives to Make a Difference
Third graders in Marisa Amalfitano’s class at West End Elementary School are on a mission to spread kindness and positivity throughout their school this year. The class refers to themselves as the Kindness Crew and with the help of their teacher, finds new ways to brighten the day of students and staff.
Connecting with the district’s theme of the year “A Community of Caring,” the class brainstormed ideas at the beginning of the school year on how they could achieve their goal to promote kindness and positivity. They read a book called “Words and Your Heart” by Kate Jane Neal and learned that words can be used to heal.
The class broke their ideas up into different missions and have already accomplished two this school year. For their first mission, the students created approximately 50 bookmarks with kind messages on them. They then hid the bookmarks in books throughout the school library. Students who visited the library were pleasantly surprised to receive a handmade bookmark courtesy of the Kindness Crew.
The class recently participated in their second mission. Each student created 2-3 colorful posters filled with kind messages and positive quotes to be displayed in bathrooms across the school building. According to the students, if someone is having a difficult day, they can see the posters and hopefully feel better.
“I hope they feel joyful when they see our posters,” said third grader Jiselle Johnson.
The Kindness Crew has enjoyed fulfilling their missions not only for others but for themselves. The activities allow the class to feel good about what they are doing. In the future, the Kindness Crew has plans to spread kind messages through surprise Post-its on classroom doors and a plan to host a special morning to brighten the day of students and staff. In the Spring, the class will write kind messages outside the school with chalk and cheer on students as they get dropped off at school.
Although the class has their group missions of kindness, Mrs. Amalfitano said that she has witnessed each individual student perform their own acts of kindness on a daily basis. The class is truly embracing the Community of Caring theme and making a difference at West End Elementary School.
West End Students Perform Original Musical
Students at West End Elementary School recently performed their musical “The Champions of West End,” written by music teacher Mrs. Kruh. In line with Lynbrook’s districtwide theme this year, “A Community of Caring,” the storyline of the musical focused on West End students who come up with the idea to put on a show in order to raise money through ticket sales to buy food for the food pantry at Our Lady of Peace. The students did a fantastic job!
Students Spread Kindness for the Holidays
Waverly Park Elementary School students and staff celebrated the season of giving with a kindness tree throughout the month of December. Facilitated by the school’s student council, students and staff were encouraged to purchase a paper ornament for $1 each to decorate the kindness tree in the school’s lobby.
Prior to the ornament sale, student council members wrote kind messages and words of encouragement on the paper ornaments so students and staff could pick the ornament that they loved. Once purchased, the ornament recipients put their names on it and placed it on the tree. Together, the student council raised $60 through their kindness tree initiative to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.
In addition to raising money, student council members visited the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island to bake for guests using baked goods generously donated by Waverly Park families.
West End Students Celebrate the Season of Giving
Throughout December, members of the West End Elementary School Student Council facilitated their annual toy drive with the help of advisors Lori Gus and Jacqueline McDougal. The students collected more than 150 toys and generously received toy donations from the Lynbrook Police Department to support West End families in need this holiday season.
In addition, the student council collected approximately $600 from West End staff members. Third grader Sophia Goumennyi also raised money to support the toy drive from raking leaves. Due to her hard work and kindness, she received an honorary student council member T-shirt and a West End Champion bracelet. All the money that was raised during the toy drive was used to purchase some sports items such as basketballs and footballs, art kits, fuzzy blankets and pajamas. The money was also used to purchase gift certificates to a local pizza eatery. All donations were wrapped and distributed locally to West End families in need.
Marion Street Students Spread Holiday Cheer With Annual Toy Drive
Student council members at Marion Street Elementary School recently organized their annual toy drive to support the Children’s Heart Foundation and the children at South Nassau Communities Hospital. With the help of generous Marion Street families, the student council members delivered more than 300 toys on Dec. 10 to the hospital and performed holiday songs with chorus and band students in the hospital’s atrium.
Student council advisors Kelly Donovan and Colleen Kiss, along with library media specialist Marie Sarro-Pizarro, helped facilitate the toy drive from Nov. 25 through the drop off date. This was the third year that the student council ran the collection to give back to hospital-bound children during the holiday season. Great job, Marion Street!
West End Shows Support for Injured Officer
Students at West End Elementary School recently created 125 get well soon cards for a Lynbrook police officer who was struck by a vehicle during an auto accident investigation. Fifth grader Emma Murphy presented the cards to Lynbrook Police Chief Paladino to give to the officer. Great job, West End!
VIDEO: Waverly Park Honors Local Veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, Waverly Park students and staff hosted their annual “Bring a Veteran to School Day” on Nov. 8. The school’s student council, along with student council advisors Shari Bowes and Courtney Jacobs, facilitated the special event to honor local veterans for their service.
Junior Receives Heartwarming Welcome After Heart Transplant
It was a special morning at Lynbrook High School as junior Aidan Slattery returned to school on Oct. 15 after undergoing heart transplant surgery three months ago. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, Principal Joseph Rainis, Assistant Principals Salvatore Brescia and Matthew Sarosy, along with excited students, staff and members of the Slattery family, waited for his arrival outside the high school.
Looking to give Aidan a memorable surprise homecoming, students proudly held balloons and posters to welcome him back. Members of the marching band performed and the cheer and kickline teams lined the sidewalk as Aidan was dropped off at the front of the building. Everyone cheered as they paved a path for him from the entrance of the school through the lobby, cafeteria and hallway.
Aidan, who has had a heart condition his entire life, fell ill in early May during his sophomore year and was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There, he learned his heart was failing and was placed on the nationwide emergency heart transplant list. Aidan underwent a massive surgery to receive a heart pump called a ventricular assist device and began to grow stronger. Within five weeks, a near perfect match was discovered for a donor heart and Aidan underwent heart transplant surgery.
“When we learned that Aidan was coming back to school, knowing what he and his entire family had gone through, it was inspiring,” said Principal Rainis. “And so I said to myself, wouldn’t it be great if we had the whole building outside to welcome him back? It’s just a nice way to welcome a wonderful young man back into the family.”
As Aidan was celebrated by his peers, Dr. Burak expressed how happy she was to see him return to school. Todd Slattery, Aidan’s father, was among the crowd and was thankful for the support of the school community.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Aidan definitely brings out the best in them. He’s got a great personality and he’s pretty soft spoken, so this is probably a shock for him, but he knows that this whole thing came with a responsibility so he’s welcoming of the attention. Aidan wants to tell his story so that others can benefit from increased awareness for organ donors and the wonderful work that’s happening at children’s hospitals around the country.”
Welcome back, Aidan!
Students Give Back with “Peds for Peru” Drive
Students and staff from the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center and Waverly Park Elementary School recently teamed up to host a “Peds for Peru” drive. Together, the school communities collected more than 220 pairs of shoes to donate to students in need at the Primaria 50896 San Isidro Labrador Publica in Huayllabamba, Peru.
Connecting with the district’s 2019-2020 theme of the year, A Community of Caring, this fundraiser was one of many service projects that Lynbrook students participate in throughout the school year to give back.